Life is all about balance. We’re constantly shifting our weight between our various roles and responsibilities, trying to give the appropriate attention to each. We live hectic, multi-faceted lives, and when you throw a chronic medical condition in the mix—well, achieving that balance is all the more crucial.
Because I work from home, it’s a bit of a challenge for me to strike a balance between “work” and “life”; being a full-time student (and a full-time lymphie!) only adds to the load. I’m constantly sitting at my desk, staring at my screen with a cup of coffee nearby, well into the wee hours of the morning—and I’m tired. My neck hurts, my back aches, and my lymphie leg is cramping from sitting; because I’m so out-of-sorts, the quality of my work sometimes suffers along with me.
Truth is, when you’re run-down, burnt-out, or stretched too thin, it’s harder to prioritize yourself and your needs. We may feel as though we’re balanced because we’re meeting our deadlines or following through with plans, but are we eschewing our own self-care and well-being in order to achieve that?
Coffee and stress are not enough to sustain you, and you can’t do good work or be present for others if you’re drained and empty.
If you don’t pause and give yourself a break, you are going to break. I’ve experienced this myself so many times: I get so used to running, running, running that I think it’s my norm to be a little tired and frazzled. I think it’s my norm, that is, until I inevitably crash. Hard. It’s not healthy to operate in that way—I can’t be my best self if I’m constantly on the brink of exhaustion! Come to think of it, I don’t know many people who can.
I’m trying to change this by taking the time to make the time for my self-care. I’m mindful of getting enough sleep, of being consistent with my lymphedema treatment, and of working through my stresses rather than being consumed by them. My time management is improving, slowly but surely: there are still all-nighters, but they aren’t as draining now that they’re less frequent. Like most things in life, it’s about progress, not perfection.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, so listen to your body. Check on your cup. Do you need a refill?